God — not leaders or virus — is in control

Patricia Holbrook

Patricia Holbrook

“There is no situation I can get into that God cannot get me out.” Evangelist James Brown

I read a story about James Brown that serves as an excellent illustration on trusting God when we lose control over our circumstances.

Brown was taking flight lessons one day when his instructor told him to put the plane into a deep and extended dive. Brown was scared and unprepared for what happened next. The engine stalled, and the aircraft started plunging downward, entirely out of control. It was then that he realized: His instructor was not going to help him at all. “After a few seconds, which seemed like an eternity,” he recalls, “my mind began to function again. I quickly corrected the situation.”

Brown would not have it. He was furious at the instructor and started to vent his frustrations. The instructor did not seem to be bothered by his outburst, and calmly said: “There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it again.”

Brown writes: “At that moment, God seemed to be saying to me: ‘Remember this (…) there is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right.’”

Fortune magazine’s headlines on April 23 read: “Unemployment rate soars past 20% — and the U.S. has now lost 26.5 million jobs.”

The majority of the 26 million Americans facing unemployment probably met the news of the “reopening” of the economy with a sigh of relief. After all, once “Phase 1” of the COVID-19 recovery plan is implemented, several businesses will reopen, and many jobs should become available.

But to another large portion of the population, the news was not received with the same excitement.

For those who lost loved ones, those who are sick, and many healthcare workers who have witnessed first-hand the deadly effects of this virus, reopening the economy is not their priority. Their perspective is different.

As I think about both opinions, I can clearly understand the concerns and frustrations. My family did not escape the economic impact of this crisis, and I have dear friends and some friend’s family members who are fighting for their lives against this horrific enemy. I truly understand both sides.

But as I was reading my bible this morning, after praying for our country and for wisdom for our leaders, my eyes rested on a verse that reminded me of who is ultimately in control of the world:

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Proverbs, chapter 21.

In Solomon’s day, kings possessed absolute, unquestionable authority. Democracy was non-existent, and their words and decisions were perceived as divine. But this proverb offers a different perspective concerning governing authorities. It reminds us that God, not worldly rulers, has ultimate government over the world’s events. Even though they don’t always realize it, every leader in history has been under God’s sovereign control. It is a concept that is hard to grasp, I know, but it’s true, nonetheless. And it should give us pause. Better yet, it should fill us with hope and peace.

Whether you find yourself reasonably unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis, or your world turned upside down because of it. Whether your heart is filled with contempt toward our leaders, or you applaud the reopening of the economy. Whether you are mourning the loss of a loved one or filled with fear because they are among the sick, will you take a moment today and wrap your mind around the truth behind the lesson James Brown’s flight instructor wisely taught him that day? If you are God’s child, there is no situation that you can get in that he cannot help you get out. Just look back! He has done it before. Remind your heart to believe it once again.

And if frustration against those in power threatens to steal your peace and blemish your testimony, anchor your heart on this truth: God, not kings, is in ultimate control of the universe. Trust him. He is still on the throne.

Patricia Holbrook is a columnist, author, blogger and international speaker. Her newly published Bible Study – Twelve Inches – is now available on her website www.soaringwithHim.com. For speaking engagements and comments, email pholbrook@soaringwithHim.com